Aug 31, 2012 / 9:00 am
It may only be the pre-season, but the West Kelowna Warriors made a statement on Thursday with a 4-3 victory over the Penticton Vees.
The Warriors dominated the first two periods of play, playing sound defence and jumping out to a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes of play.
The Vees began to find their stride in the third period.
A pair of power-play tallies and an even strength breakaway allowed the hosts to climb back and tie the game up at 3’s midway through the third.
However, newcomer Brent Lashuk would put the Warriors back in front for good when he walked out from behind the net and beat Nic Reynard with seven-and-a-half minutes remaining.
“I had lots of time” admitted Lashuk of the winner; “I was surprised”
West Kelowna’s other goals came from veterans Marcus Basara, Josh Monk, and Brennan Clark.
Ryan Gropp, Kurt Black, and Louie Nanne replied for Penticton.
Garrett Rockafellow earned the victory in net, after playing the second half of the game. But it was prized acquisition Tyler Briggs, playing his first game as a Warrior, who kickstarted West Kelowna’s effort by stopping all 18 shots he faced in the first half of the game.
“I felt pretty good” says Briggs of his Warriors debut.
“I was a little nervous at first, but I relaxed and it went great.”
West Kelowna’s victory came over a Vees squad playing its first game of the exhibition season.
While Penticton may have shown some rust, the Warriors are still excited for the momentum generated by knocking off the defending champs – something they failed to do all of last season.
“It sends a little message to the league saying that we’re here to have a chance of winning this year” says Briggs.
The Warriors wrap up the pre-season with a home date against the NAHL’s Wenatchee Wild on Friday night.
The Wild, testing the waters for a possible move to the BCHL next season, have already beaten Vernon 9-5 and Salmon Arm 3-2.
They will play in Penticton Saturday.
The BCHL regular season begins on September 8 with the Showcase event in Chilliwack featuring 16 games and all 16 teams.
The Warriors will take on Salmon Arm and Surrey during the opening weekend.
The Warriors home opener is set for September 14 against the RBC champion Vees.
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